zucotti park


An Overview of Occupy Wall St, From a Fledgling Protester

After briefly visiting OWS earlier this week, and having friends visiting from Boston [and attendees of Occupy Boston themselves] we decided to return to the epicenter of the movement. 

I can’t even begin to express my awe of the “village” the protesters have built and their near-impeccable organization. The People’s Library, the buffet-style food distribution [free and warm meals], the sleeping arrangements, and the seemingly infinite signs located everywhere. It was beautiful.

Recycling, sharing, and music were some of the things that stood out to me the most. The generosity and, well, solidarity displayed by the 99% is so apparent. The peaceful nature and creative ways to circumvent and still obey regulations was probably the highlight of it for me.

Whenever someone would ring out “Mic check!” among us, we were sure to reply in kind, in order to get the message out due to the inability to use megaphones.

As I sat on the wall with my sign [“Can’t afford a $ign”] and like minded people, the idea of nobody listening or paying attention seemed ludicrous. Honestly, if I had a dollar for every tourist/citizen/spectator who made a comment about or took a picture of me and my sign, let alone the entire movement….well, I’d probably be in the 1% right now. Throughout the march, our chants and invitations to any spectator to come join us filled the sidewalks [we didn’t want another Brooklyn Bridge incident on our hands] almost as overwhelmingly as our presence. The NYPD, thankfully, was peaceful and I didn’t witness any altercations or words exchanged for my time there. 

The only time I really felt insulted or heated was when someone felt the need to comment to me to “get a job”, to which I yelled back “I have two and I’m still in debt, what’s your excuse?!” Really now, critics have been so quick to assume that the movement is a bunch of jobless whining brats who won’t get anything done. And I agree, there are plenty of those, and trustafarians whose parents corporate jobs are allowing them to come out, but those are not a reflection of the whole. This issue affects 99% of us after all, so we need to start acting like it does. 

This has already spread nationwide, and I’ve had friends go to Occupy Boston, LA, and Miami. I’ve read accounts of Denver, Seattle and Tulsa. We are growing. It’s already been proven this is more than some angry hippies in a park. If you haven’t stopped by a protest near you, at least research the movement. It’s pretty amazing, and worth looking into. Even if you don’t agree. Hell, especially if you don’t agree.

Occupy D.C. is nearing its end. Why is it no surprise then that Occupy D.C. never took off successfully?

“Simply put, Washington, D.C. is a bad launching pad for a protest movement opposed to establishment politics. This city, for better and for worse, is for people who believe in the establishment. It’s home to several major universities, mainstream media outlets, and think tanks—and, most important, to the federal government. Its professional class is made up of people who believe (some earnestly, some cynically) in the legitimacy of establishment organs.”

—Nathan Pippenger and Simon van Zuylen-Wood, “Why It’s No Surprise That Occupy DC Never Took Off

Photo by Simon van Zuylen-Wood

EMERGENCY CALL TO ACTION: Keep Bloomberg and Kelly From Evicting #OWS

Prevent the forcible closure of Occupy Wall Street

Tell Bloomberg: Don’t Foreclose the Occupation.


This is an emergency situation. Please take a minute to read this, and please take action and spread the word far and wide.

Occupy Wall Street is gaining momentum, with occupation actions now happening in cities across the world.

But last night Mayor Bloomberg and the NYPD notified Occupy Wall Street participants about plans to “clean the park”—the site of the Wall Street protests—tomorrow starting at 7am. “Cleaning” was used as a pretext to shut down “Bloombergville” a few months back, and to shut down peaceful occupations elsewhere.

Bloomberg says that the park will be open for public usage following the cleaning, but with a notable caveat: Occupy Wall Street participants must follow the “rules”.

NYPD Police Commissioner Ray Kelly has said that they will move in to clear us and we will not be allowed to take sleeping bags, tarps, personal items or gear back into the park.

This is it—this is their attempt to shut down #OWS for good.


Rebecca Solnit on Civil Society at Zucotti Park

“Last Tuesday, I awoke in lower Manhattan to the whirring of helicopters overhead, a war-zone sound that persisted all day and then started up again that Thursday morning, the two-month anniversary of Occupy Wall Street and a big day of demonstrations in New York City. It was one of the dozens of ways you could tell that the authorities take Occupy Wall Street seriously, even if they profoundly mistake what kind of danger it poses. If you ever doubted whether you were powerful or you mattered, just look at the reaction to people like you (or your children) camped out in parks from Oakland to Portland, Tucson to Manhattan.

"Of course, “camped out” doesn’t quite catch the spirit of the moment, because those campsites are the way people have come together to bear witness to their hopes and fears, to begin to gather their power and discuss what is possible in our disturbingly unhinged world, to make clear how wrong our economic system is, how corrupt the powers that support it are, and to begin the search for a better way. Consider it an irony that the campsites are partly for sleeping, but symbols of the way we have awoken.”

Keep reading …

Once on the corner I immediately launched into action and again started reading from the OWS POETRY ANTHOLOGY. Someone in the crowd said the cops wouldn’t respond to the poems but I countered, it’s not about the cops, it’s about making the voices of all those that have sent poems to the anthology heard.
—  Stephen Boyer, one of the librarians at Zuccotti Park, giving a first-hand account of last night’s events
If you want to hang out and do nothing, that’s me. If you want to protest and get arrested twice a day, that’s you.
—  Homeless-by-choice Occupy Wall Street hanger-on “Spooky,” discussing how he’s been mooching off the movement for like two weeks. How much does it cost to be a Zucotti Park dweller? Less than $10 a day, largely paid for by donations. In Manhattan, that’s unheard of. Spooky’s living pretty well these days.

After complaints from neighbors, local politicians, and national civil liberties groups, the barricades that have surrounded Zuccotti Park since the November 15 eviction of OWS are removed.

A Violent Weekend Recharges Occupy Wall Street

Protests meant to mark the six-month anniversary of Occupy Wall Street have thrust the movement back into the spotlight, mostly due to one particularly violent and ugly confrontation.

Around 73 protesters were arrested on St. Patrick’s Day night after an attempt to re-occupy Zuccotti Park by setting up tents was met with stiff resistance from the NYPD. One arrest drew particular outrage from protesters and internet observers, when 23-year-old Cecily McMillan reportedly had a rib broken by arresting officers, who then stood by as she suffered a seizure while in handcuffs. (That’s McMillan in green in the rather dramatic Reuters photograph from this earlier post.) She was taken to both New York Downtown Hospital for medical treatment, then to Bellevue Hospital for a psychiatric evaluation before being released into police custody. Another video of a seperate incident shows police breaking a glass door by slamming a protester into it.

Despite the injuries she suffered, McMillan’s own conduct is now being called into question by police. One of the eyewitness videos documenting her arrest shows what appears to be McMillan intentionally elbowing her arresting officer in the face, before she was violently taken down. (She was later charged will assaulting an officer.) McMillan, an avowed socialist who was mentioned in Rolling Stone last year, has been arrested before at Occupy protests making her the perfect foil for NYPD backers who think these kids are just asking for trouble.

Occupy This Statue: 24-year-old Dylan Spoelstra (who’s gotten some press from Bloomberg for his role on Occupy Wall Street) climbed a statue early this morning, promising not to come down unless Mayor Michael Bloomberg resigned. After a couple hours, he relented. "He’s not the sharpest knife in the draw,“ said another protester, Pat Griese. "He didn’t seem drunk or high to me. He just seemed a little off.”


Wall Street On Trial

The Manhattan Institute is proud to present… the second in a series of animated videos created by Andrew Klavan, City Journal contributing editor and creator of “Klavan on the Culture”

Looking to blame someone for the recent financial crash, Occupy Wall Street protestors turned their wrath on America’s bankers and corporations. But are the bulwarks of capitalism really just cartoon caricatures of selfishness and greed?

City Journal contributing editor Andrew Klavan—who actually is a cartoon caricature— takes a more in-depth look at the situation as the Manhattan Institute Presents: “WALL STREET ON TRIAL”

For more information, please visit us at: http://www.manhattan-institute.org/wallstreetontrial/